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HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Prequel Sounds Even Darker Than the Original

George R.R. Martin wants to call the potential new series 'The Long Night,' hinting at a very bleak time in Westeros's history.
Image courtesy of HBO

Game of Thrones, HBO's flagship series about zombies and dragons and families who fuck, will come to an end after its eighth and final season airs next year, but that probably won't be the last we'll see of Westeros. The network has been working on a whole bunch of GoT spinoffs since long before season seven dropped, and now, finally, it looks like one has a shot at actually becoming a series.

Last week, HBO announced that it has greenlit a pilot for the first prequel series, this one set "thousands of years" before the events of Game of Thrones. The upcoming series, if picked up, will reportedly cover everything from "the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend," according to a statement.


And, sure, it sounds cool to get a Night King origin story or whatever, but HBO's synopsis is frustratingly vague. Luckily, GoT mastermind and champion beard-grower George R.R. Martin penned a blog post on Monday that gives some tantalizing details about the upcoming show.

Yes, this is a prequel, not a sequel. None of the characters or actors from GAME OF THRONES will appear in the new show. All of the successor shows we’ve been developing have been prequels, as I have mentioned before. This one really puts the PRE in prequel, since it is set not ninety years before GAME OF THRONES (like Dunk & Egg), or a few hundred years, but rather ten thousand years (well, assuming the oral histories of the First Men are accurate, but there are maesters at the Citadel who insist it has only been half that long). We’re very early in the process, of course, with the pilot order just in, so we don’t have a director yet, or a cast, or a location, or even a title. (My vote would be THE LONG NIGHT, which says it all, but I’d be surprised if that’s where we end up. More likely HBO will want to work the phrase “game of thrones” in there somewhere. We’ll know sooner or later)

The first bit of his post just clarifies what we already knew: The new series is a prequel, and it takes place a long-ass time before the events of the original show. It's also still in its early stages, so there's no talent attached—save for the showrunner, Jane Goldman, who wrote the pilot. But that little tease about the show's potential title, The Long Night, does give hint about what's to come.


"The Long Night" refers to a certain period of Game of Thrones history, a time millennia ago when winter came and lasted for decades. This is also, according to lore, the first time the White Walkers wreaked havoc on Westeros, too, inspiring the construction of the Wall and the creation of the Night's Watch. It was not a particularly great time.

"Thousands of years ago, there came a night that lasted a generation," Old Nan explained to Bran back in GoT's first season. "Kings froze to death in their castles, same as the shepherds in their huts. And women smothered their babies rather than see them starve, and wept, and felt the tears freeze on their cheeks… In that darkness, the White Walkers came for the first time. They swept through cities and kingdoms, riding their dead horses, hunting with their packs of pale spiders, big as hounds."

This is apparently what we'll have to look forward to if HBO winds up liking the prequel's pilot. Get ready to see some giant spiders decimate the ancestors of all your favorite Game of Thrones characters!

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